Telegram’s throwing a bone to its non-premium users this month by extending them access to more emoji reactions. The feature now lets all users choose from “dozens” of emoji that they can drop onto message bubbles as an alternative way to contribute to the conversation. And if you’re paying the $4.99 a month for Premium, don’t worry, you’re now getting an endless supply of reaction options by way of the custom animated emoji packs released last month, as well as other new features.
Paying Telegram Premium subscribers can now use all animated emoji as a status, in addition to the default seven that can change colors based on the theme. For instance, you can choose a rotating controller emoji to indicate you’re busy fragging on your Xbox. It’ll appear in friends’ chat lists, groups, and on your profile page in place of the normal Premium badge, which is also where you would tap to apply the status.
There’s also a better login system now for “users who log out and log back in frequently” that can send a temporary code to your email address or can utilize Sign In with Apple or Google. Users on iOS will notice that the user interface for logging in has improved and includes the “fun animations” that Android users have already been enjoying.
Speaking of Android users, the app will now have smother animations when handling media in the app, and also the app icon will match Android’s color and dark mode settings. And the downloads section, like the iOS version, can now have items prioritized so you can download those huge uncompressed astrophotography images before your friend’s kid’s dance recital video.
Finally, there’s now a better link format for sharing your Telegram user profile. Instead of the old t.me/username, you can now do username.t.me, which is easier to share audibly and is better for accessibility.
Telegram has been on a roll lately, adding more Premium features for subscribers, but the process has had some bumps. Founder Pavel Durov had hinted at upcoming features in June before launch, like removing ads, along with power user-targeted features like large file support and these emoji reactions.
He said that the new animated emoji feature, which includes an open custom platform to make your own versions, will “revolutionize how people express themselves.” Apple blocked an earlier update with “Telemoji” that apparently came too close to Apple’s custom designs, but Telegram eventually added “hundreds of vector-based emoji with smooth animations.”